The Federal Environment Office said that cleaning expenses connected to litter-dropping amounted to around 192 million francs in 2010, with 144 million used to clean the cities and villages and about 48 million on public transport.
More than half of the litter costs borne by local governments are caused by food and drink packaging as well as serviettes, plastic cutlery and other items associated with eating, it said. About 36 percent of money spent covers picking up cigarettes butts, for which a higher level of effort is needed as the small ends have to collected from different kinds of surfaces, the office said in a new study, the first of its kind in Switzerland.
According to the research, litter is increasing because more people spend their lunch breaks outside their homes or offices and also because of the boom of free newspapers in recent years that are often thrown away or left behind on buses and trams. Also, the recent smoking ban in public places is contributing to the higher amounts of cigarette butts littering the streets, the study said.